Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Everything You Need to Get Started

notebook that says affiliate marketing for beginners and has a black pen next to it.

Earning a steady income online can be challenging. You might have tried your hand at a few things, but nothing seems to be working out quite the way you’d hoped. 

It’s easy to feel discouraged when it feels like everyone else is making money online except for you. The worst part is most beginners give up before they even have the chance to see any real success.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online, and it’s something that anyone can do with a little bit of training and guidance. In this article, we’re going to break down what affiliate marketing is, how it works, and how you can get started today.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing. Basically, you partner up with a service, product, or business and refer customers to them in exchange for a commission on the sales they make.

It’s an easy way to get started making money online because all you have to do is connect people with the products and services that they already know and trust.

Why should you do affiliate marketing?

There are several reasons you should consider giving affiliate marketing a try. First, it’s an incredibly lucrative way to make money online. According to Statista, a statistics portal for market data, business spending on affiliate marketing hit 8.2 billion in the U.S in 2022, and Influencer Marketing Hub estimates that the affiliate marketing industry will continue to grow to at least 15.7 billion by 2024.

Another reason is that you don’t need to have any prior experience or expertise. All you need is an audience and the willingness to promote products that are relevant to them.

Affiliate marketing is low-cost and low-risk, and it has a relatively high return on investment. This makes affiliate marketing a perfect option for beginners.

When someone purchases through your affiliate link, you earn a commission. The more people that follow your link, the more money you can make. Plus, there are tons of products to promote, and many companies offer attractive commissions.

Affiliate marketing is also easy to scale. As your audience grows over time, you can increase the number of products you promote and the amount of money that you make.

How does affiliate marketing work?

When you sign up to be an affiliate, you will be given your own affiliate link. You then place this link in your content, like blog posts or social media posts. When someone clicks on this link, they will be taken to the product page, and if they make a purchase, you will receive a commission on that product, or in cases like Amazon, every product they purchase.

It’s important for beginners to know some affiliate programs require approval before you can start promoting their products. This is usually just an automated process that takes a few minutes and requires some basic information about you.

Once approved, you will start to receive promotional materials from the company. This could include banners, ads, product images, or even pre-written content. These are all designed to help drive more sales for the company and increase your commissions.

Woman's hand pointing to a white board with an outline of how affiliate marketing works for beginners

What is an affiliate link?

An affiliate link is a unique URL that contains an ID that is associated with your account. When someone clicks on the link, it will take them to the product page, and any purchases they make will be credited to you.

Affiliate links help you track how many people click through from your content, as well as how many of those people end up buying something.

Is affiliate marketing worth it?

Affiliate marketing is the perfect option for beginners since it involves no overhead to get started. Plus, it has a relatively high return on investment and the potential to earn a significant income over time.

However, it’s important to remember that you need to be strategic about your approach. Quality content is the key to success in affiliate marketing for beginners.

Affiliate Marketing for beginners step-by-step guide. 

Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy and requires only a few steps.

Choose a niche based on research

Picking something that you know about or have an interest in is ideal because it’s easier to create content around it. However, you first need to make sure your niche will be profitable. Choosing too narrow of a niche will limit your potential for success. You need to select a niche that isn’t oversaturated but also has a medium to high search volume.

Choose the best platform for your content

In addition to selecting your niche, you also need to decide what platform you will be using to promote your affiliate products. You could use a blog, YouTube channel, or social media platforms like Instagram or Tiktok.

Which platform you choose largely depends on your business. If you already have a substantial social media following, then a platform like Instagram may be the right choice for you. If you’re creating content, such as product reviews or tutorials, then a blog or YouTube channel may be more suitable, especially if you’re a beginner just starting out.

Choose profitable affiliate programs

The next step is to find an affiliate program that fits your niche, such as Amazon Associates or Share-a-sale. An easy way to research programs is by entering keywords related to your niche in Google and seeing what shows up. You’ll want to make sure it’s reputable and has a good commission rate.

When doing your research, you should first assess the affiliate’s earning potential.  Amazon Associates is well known to have extremely low commission rates, but the sheer number of people who buy from Amazon on a regular basis. 

If an affiliate commission for one product is 2% with Amazon and 4% with a lesser-known company, Amazon may still be the better option, merely because people know and trust Amazon and are more likely to click through.

Next, you want to assess your competition.  If page one of Google is filled with high-authority sites promoting the same product, as a beginner, you’re never going to rank high enough to actually get people to see your content. 

At the same time, if there are other smaller sites ranking and promoting similar content, then you can be sure to have a good chance of earning affiliate commission as a beginner. 

Finally, you need to evaluate the product’s reputation and alignment with your brand. It doesn’t matter how great the commission seems, if the product is low quality or the company has a negative reputation, you don’t want to be associated with it.

Craft optimized, quality affiliate content

You’ve probably heard the phrase Content is King, and this is especially true if you are a beginner getting started in affiliate marketing.

Once you have chosen the products to promote, it’s time to create content that will help encourage readers to click through and make a purchase. You want to create high-quality content that will help convert your audience into buyers.

This means strategically using low-competition keywords and crafting compelling copy around those keywords that encourages readers to take action. It should also involve creating images or videos that showcase the product.

When it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners, you want to create epic content that is a one-stop shop for your audience. You don’t want them to leave your page until they click through your affiliate link.

Drive traffic to your affiliate links

Once you have created your content and optimized it for affiliate conversions, you need to actually get people to see it. There are several ways you can do this.

Paid traffic

Paid traffic is an easy way to get people to your affiliate links quickly. You can use platforms like Google Ads or Facebook ads to reach potential customers and drive them directly to your content.


Organic traffic is the holy grail for any online business, especially those that use affiliate marketing. It involves using SEO tactics such as keyword research and optimizing your content for search engines. SEO takes time, but the payoff is totally worth it. Organic traffic is more likely to convert into buyers than paid traffic and is much less work in the long run.

Social media

If you have a strong social media presence, then leveraging your following to drive traffic to your affiliate links can be a great way to get people interested in what you are promoting. Plus, it’s free!

Build an email list

Your social media accounts can be shut down at a moment’s notice, but you own your email list. Email lists are a great way to keep in touch with your readers and drive them back to your content and your affiliate links. There are a number of email providers, but we recommend Convertkit.

Get the click

When it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners, the only thing you want to focus on is getting the click. I’m sure you’ve read tons of articles on how important it is to keep readers on your page as long as possible, and this is true for ad revenue, but when it comes to affiliate marketing, if your reader never leaves your site, you don’t earn the commission.

Your goal is to get them to click your affiliate links as quickly as possible, which can be strategically done using a few tricks.

Link placement

You want to make sure you have a link placed above the fold. This means that the link should appear without having to scroll down. You also want to make sure you are placing your affiliate link strategically within the copy. Make sure it comes at a natural pause and is placed near relevant keywords or phrases.


Not only is link placement important, but it’s also important to provide context for the link. You want to make sure your readers know what they are clicking on and why they NEED it.


Using callout boxes draws attention to your links, making them stand out from the rest of your content. Callout boxes also make your content easier to skim, which is essential in today’s culture.

Use your content to convert clicks to sales

Not only do you need your audience to click through your links, but you also need them to actually make a purchase. This is where your content comes into play.

You want to make sure you focus on creating quality content that builds trust and confidence in the product you are promoting. You can do this by highlighting features, benefits, and reviews from yourself as well as other customers. The key is, to be honest, and genuine with your recommendations. If a customer has a bad experience with a product they bought through your affiliate link, they will be less likely to trust you in the future. 

notebook on a desk describing affiliate marketing for beginners.  A pair of glasses, and chart, and some colored pencils are scattered around the desk.

Build a simple affiliate marketing funnel

If you want to continue to convert existing readers, you will want to create a simple affiliate marketing funnel to continue to grow your email list. This funnel should include an opt-in page, a thank-you page, and a series of emails that will continue to build trust with your readers.

You will want to then optimize your funnel by sending helpful emails to your audience, building their trust. Don’t try to sell them something in every single email. Instead, focus each email around a specific piece of content on your website. Include the link to that piece of content in the email. 

Bu regularly emailing your list, you can increase repeat customer conversions.

Track your affiliate revenue and make adjustments to increase sales

The first thing you need to do is set up a basic tracking system for your affiliate sales. Most affiliates provide this for you, but if you are using several affiliates, we recommend using a spreadsheet to track them all in one place. 

Then, you want to start running some A/B testing on the links that aren’t converting as well. For example, you can test different link placements, types of callouts, and copy. Make sure to track these results, too, so you can see which variation works best for your audience.

By tracking your links and making small adjustments over time, you can increase conversions and make more money with your affiliate marketing efforts!

Affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid

Affiliate marketing is not as simple as it looks. There are several pitfalls affiliate marketing beginners fall into, such as relying too heavily on one product or making unrealistic income claims.

It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest affiliate marketing rules, regulations, and best practices in order to ensure your campaigns are successful. Not following the program’s best practices can result in your removal from the affiliate program altogether.

Affiliate marketing tools

As a beginner, there are a few affiliate marketing tools you need to know about. These tools are a beginning affiliate marketer’s best friend and can make affiliate marketing easier in general.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to analyze your website’s performance in organic search engine results. It also provides you with valuable insights about your website, including keyword ranking and click-through rates.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that gives you insights into how users are interacting with your website. It can also help you track conversions and understand where your traffic is coming from.

Rank Math

Rank Math is an SEO plugin that helps you optimize your website for higher search engine rankings. It also helps you keep track of your keyword rankings, which can be invaluable when trying to improve visibility in the SERPs.


Yoast is another SEO plugin that helps you optimize your website for better rankings. It offers a range of features, including XML sitemaps, keyword optimization, and more.


Ahrefs is an SEO tool that can help you identify potential affiliate marketing opportunities. It offers data on keyword rankings, backlinks, and more. Ahrefs is one of the best tools out there, but it is quite pricey.


Ubersuggest is an SEO tool similar to Ahrefs, but much more affordable. While it doesn’t do everything Ahrefs does, it is a good option for beginners who are just starting out.

Other things you need to know about affiliate marketing 

Brands are looking for partners, not just affiliates

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money, but it’s important to remember that brands are looking for partners, not just affiliates. If you think about it from the brand’s perspective, they need someone who can truly represent their products and provide real value to their customers.

Content matters

In order for your affiliate campaigns to be successful, you need to create quality content that is relevant to your audience. Product reviews, how-to guides, and comparison posts are all great ways to engage your followers and promote affiliate products in a meaningful way.

Diversification is more important than ever

It’s always a good idea to diversify your affiliate strategies. By diversifying your affiliate campaigns, you spread the risk of having one or two campaigns fail, and it also gives you an opportunity to explore new niches and markets.

Multi-channel is an advantage

Spreading your affiliate links around different channels increases the chances of them being seen and allows you to drive more traffic to each individual channel. Don’t be afraid to try out different platforms such as social media, email marketing, and YouTube to increase your conversion rates.


How much money do affiliate marketers make? 

Affiliate marketers can earn anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars per month, depending on the size and success of their campaigns. Beginner affiliate marketers should expect to earn very little at first, but keep in mind affiliate marketing works like compound interest, increasing significantly over time.

How can I be successful as an affiliate marketer?

Successful affiliate marketers create quality content that is relevant to their audience and promote products they believe in.

How do I start affiliate marketing with no experience?

Starting with no experience can be daunting, but it’s not impossible. Make sure you do your research and familiarize yourself with all the steps in this article. Since SEO is so important, we also recommend you take an SEO course or join an SEO membership.

Can I start affiliate marketing for free?

Absolutely! The only thing you need to start affiliate marketing is a website or social media following.

Ready to take action?

Now that you know what affiliate marketing is and how it works, it’s time to get started!

You can start small by creating content for your chosen niche, researching profitable programs to join, and driving traffic to your affiliate links. With dedication and a strategic plan, you can quickly become a successful affiliate marketer and start earning money online.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and start your own affiliate marketing journey, be sure to check out Passive Income Academy. We offer a variety of training modules and support services to help you boost your SEO and increase your affiliate sales.